The Mao Laboratory

Peng Mao, PhD

Assistant Professor
Department of Internal Medicine, Division of Molecular Medicine
The University of New Mexico
915 Camino de Salud NE
Albuquerque, NM 87131

Email Dr. Mao

Office: (505) 272-7824

Peng Mao, PhD
Peng Mao, PhD, Principal Investigator

DNA Damage, DNA Repair, and Cancer Mutations

Genome instability is a prominent hallmark of cancer. A major source that increases genome instability is DNA damage. DNA in all living cells is constantly assaulted by DNA damaging agents. The resulting DNA damage, if left unrepaired, interferes with DNA replication and significantly increases mutations. Investigating how DNA damage arises and how it is repaired in the cell is important for the understanding of cancer mutation mechanisms. Dr. Peng Mao uses next-generation sequencing (NGS) and bioinformatics methods to study where DNA damage is formed in the genome and how DNA repair proteins function in the context of chromatin. He has developed two cutting-edge methods, namely, CPD-seq and NMP-seq, for genome-wide mapping of UV-induced photolesions and alkylating agents-induced small base modifications.

CPD-seq (Mao et al., PNAS, 2016; Mao et al., Nature Communications, 2018)

CPD-seq (Mao et al., PNAS, 2016; Mao et al., Nature Communications, 2018)

With these high-throughput mapping methods, he wants to address three questions important to the mutagenesis mechanism in cancer cells: (1) How do DNA repair proteins function in chromatin to remove DNA damage? (2) How does the transcription machinery, including general transcription factors and histone modification enzymes, impact different DNA repair pathways? (3) How do cancer cells selectively modulate DNA repair pathways to tolerate chemotherapeutic agents? Addressing these questions will not only provide new insights into the fundamental mechanism of DNA repair system, but shed light on new strategies to sensitize drug-resistant tumors by inhibiting specific DNA repair pathways.

Chromatin modulates DNA repair and cancer mutations (Mao et al., DNA Repair, 2019)

Chromatin modulates DNA repair and cancer mutations (Mao et al., DNA Repair, 2019)

Mao Lab People and Publications

Dr. Peng Mao is an Assistant Professor at the University of New Mexico Comprehensive Cancer Center (UNMCCC). He obtained his Ph.D. from Peking University in China. He received his post-doctoral training with Dr. Mick Smerdon in the DNA Repair Shop at Washington State University (WSU). He also worked with Dr. John Wyrick at WSU as an Assistant and Associate Research Professor before he moved to UNM. His goal is to develop new genomics tools to understand how DNA repair proteins recognize and repair DNA damage in the genome. Dr. Mao likes sports, particularly soccer.

Dr. Mingrui Duan is an Assistant Research Professor at UNMCCC. Initially trained as a biochemist in graduate school, she has successfully extended her skills to genomics and bioinformatics. She is interested in understanding the mechanism by which enhanced DNA repair capacity in cancer cells leads to drug resistance in chemotherapy. Dr. Duan likes playing piano.

  1. Sheng, Q., Yu, H., Duan, M., Ness, S., He, J., Kang, H., Jiang, L., Wyrick, J.J., Mao, P*., and Guo, Y*. A streamlined solution for processing, elucidating and quality control of cyclobutane pyrimidine dimer sequencing data. Nature Protocols. 2021, doi: 10.1038/s41596-021-00496-3. (* Corresponding authors)
  2. Duan, M., Ulibarri, J., Liu, K.J., and Mao, P. (2020). Role of Nucleotide Excision Repair in Cisplatin Resistance. International Journal of Molecular Sciences. 2020, 21(23):9248.
  3. Jiang, L., Duan, M., Guo, F., Tang, J., Oybamiji, O., Yu, H., Ness, S., Zhao, Y.-Y., Mao, P*., and Guo, Y*. SMDB: pivotal somatic sequence alterations reprogramming regulatory cascades. 2020, NAR Cancer2(4):zcaa030. (* Corresponding authors)
  4. Duan M, Selvam K, Wyrick JJ*, Mao P*. Genome-wide role of Rad26 in promoting transcription-coupled nucleotide excision repair in yeast chromatin. PNAS. 2020:202003868. (* Corresponding authors)
  5. Mao P, Wyrick JJ. Genome-Wide Mapping of UV-Induced DNA Damage with CPD-Seq. In: Hancock R, ed. Methods in Molecular Biology. Springer US; 2020:79-94.
  6. Mao P, Smerdon MJ, Roberts SA, Wyrick JJ, Asymmetric repair of UV damage in nucleosomes imposes a DNA strand polarity on somatic mutations in skin cancer. Genome Research, 2020 Jan;30(1):12-21.
  7. Mao P and Wyrick JJ Organization of DNA Damage, Excision Repair, and Mutagenesis in Chromatin: a Genomic Perspective. DNA repair, 2019
  8. Brown AJ‡, Mao P‡, Smerdon MJ, Wyrick JJ, Roberts SA. Nucleosome positions establish an extended mutation signature in melanoma. PLOS Genetics, 2018, 14 (11), e1007823 (‡ Co-first authors)
  9. Mao P, Brown AJ, Esaki S, Lockwood S, Poon GMK, Smerdon MJ, Roberts SA, Wyrick JJ. ETS transcription factors induce a unique UV damage signature that drives recurrent mutagenesis in melanoma. Nature communications. 2018; 9(1):2626.
  10. Mao P‡, Brown AJ‡, Malc EP, Mieczkowski PA, Smerdon MJ, Roberts SA, Wyrick JJ. Genome-wide maps of alkylation damage, repair, and mutagenesis in yeast reveal mechanisms of mutational heterogeneity. Genome research. 2017; 27(10):1674-1684. PMCID: PMC5630031 (‡: Co-first authors)
  11. Mao P, Wyrick JJ, Roberts SA, Smerdon MJ. UV-Induced DNA Damage and Mutagenesis in Chromatin. Photochemistry and photobiology. 2017; 93(1):216-228. PMCID: PMC5315636
  12. Mao P, Smerdon MJ, Roberts SA, Wyrick JJ. Chromosomal landscape of UV damage formation and repair at single-nucleotide resolution. PNAS. 2016; 113(32):9057-62. PMCID: PMC4987812
  13. Mao P‡, Kyriss MN‡, Hodges AJ, Duan M, Morris RT, Lavine MD, Topping TB, Gloss LM, Wyrick JJ. A basic domain in the histone H2B N-terminal tail is important for nucleosome assembly by FACT. Nucleic acids research. 2016; 44(19):9142-9152. PMCID: PMC5100577 (‡: Co-first authors)
  14. Kong M, Liu L, Chen X, Driscoll KI, Mao P, Böhm S, Kad NM, Watkins SC, Bernstein KA, Wyrick JJ, Min JH, Van Houten B. Single-Molecule Imaging Reveals that Rad4 Employs a Dynamic DNA Damage Recognition Process. Molecular cell. 2016; 64(2):376-387. PMCID: PMC5123691
  15. Mao P, Wyrick JJ. Emerging roles for histone modifications in DNA excision repair. FEMS yeast research. 2016; 16(7). PMCID: PMC5976035
  16. Meas R, Mao P*. Histone ubiquitylation and its roles in transcription and DNA damage response. DNA repair. 2015; 36:36-42. PMCID: PMC4688114 (*: Corresponding author)
  17. Hinz JM, Mao P, McNeill DR, Wilson DM 3rd. Reduced Nuclease Activity of Apurinic/Apyrimidinic Endonuclease (APE1) Variants on Nucleosomes: IDENTIFICATION OF ACCESS RESIDUES. The Journal of biological chemistry. 2015; 290(34):21067-75. PMCID: PMC4543664
  18. Mao P, Meas R, Dorgan KM, Smerdon MJ. UV damage-induced RNA polymerase II stalling stimulates H2B deubiquitylation. PNAS. 2014; 111(35):12811-6. PMCID: PMC4156752
  19. Czaja W, Mao P, Smerdon MJ. Chromatin remodelling complex RSC promotes base excision repair in chromatin of Saccharomyces cerevisiae. DNA repair. 2014; 16:35-43. PMCID: PMC4026264